With the substandard fare McFarlane Toys is producing nowadays, it’s easy to forget just how important Todd McFarlane’s contribution to the action figures industry was. When he decided he wanted action figures based on his own comic, Spawn, he approached various toymaking companies to see what they could offer him. But as one would expect with someone who left Marvel to forge a new creator-owned comic company, McFarlane didn’t like the lack of control he’d have over these toy lines. What else was there to do but create his own toy company, dedicated to making better action figures than the industry had ever seen before?
In the first decade or so of McFarlane Toys’ existence, they produced very few licensed toys. So most of what was produced was either based on the Spawn comic or were a product of Todd’s or his sculptors’ fevered imaginations. And of course, we’re talking about a guy who made comics about creatures from hell, so it’s perhaps no surprise that McFarlane produced a wide array of awesome, bizarre creatures as part of its own lines. Here are 7 of the best.
7. The Jackal King
This amazing figure was a diamond in the rough at the ass-end of Todd’s Spawn line, back when the company was still switching over from articulated figures to what were more or less just plastic statues. As part of the “Age of Pharaohs” ancient-Egyptian-themed Spawn line, what the Jackal King lacks in articulation he makes up for with an amazing sculpt and paint job.
6. The Horrid
The Horrid is an easy sell for fantasy fans: he's a huge, fully articulated dragon that fits into nearly any fantasy display. The figure was absolutely squashed into its blister card. Thanks to his articulation, many fans consider him superior to McFarlane's later line of statue dragons because he can actually move.
5. The Viper King
The Viper King is a big blue-green serpentine lord who barely fits in its packaging and looks like a cross between a gorgon and a mer-man. His top half was that of a menacing snake man, and his bottom half split into six chained serpents, all bendable and durable.
4. Manga Cyber Violator
He’s not just a “manga” version of the Violator. He’s not just a “cyber” version of the Violator. He’s MANGA. CYBER. VIOLATOR. One of Spawn’s primary nemeses, the Violator was a disgusting clown who could transform into a skinny, toothy demon. McFarlane Toys has made countless versions of the character, but perhaps none as memorable as this one.
A character from the Curse of the Spawn comic, Raenius was damned by Zeus to Hades, where he made a deal with Malebolgia and was returned to the surface a horrific monster, where he killed Zeus and became King of the Gods. His action figure is a wide-awake nightmare featuring exposed muscle, stretchy goo coating his limbs, worms spewing from his mouth, bendy tentacles flying in all directions, exposed guts, and a little Tinkerbell-like sprite just to make it all seem ironic or something.
2. The Heap
The figure is green and slimy-looking, and its body is covered in trash. It includes bits of plastic designed to mimic broken glass that would probably injure any kids who, for some reason, were given this abomination to play with. It has a gaping, articulated mouth that could store some garbage accessories (“Mouth drops open to spew out garbage!” the packaging exclaimed). Easily one of the weirdest and most fun creature figures McFarlane made.
1. Cy-Gor II
Cy-Gor is a gigantic cyborg ape. McFarlane has made a few Cy-Gor figures over the years, but this one is unquestionably the best. It features great articulation, rubbery wires, real metal chains, interchangeable hands (a robotic hand and a pirate-like hook), and a chest panel that pops off to reveal a poseable robotic monkey inside. There’s no part of this paragraph that isn’t awesome.
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